A Triangular Theory of Creativity


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Abstract

This article presents a triangular theory of creativity. The triangular theory builds upon 2 earlier accounts, namely, a 3-facet model of creativity and an investment theory of creativity. According to the triangular theory, creative individuals defy the crowd (other people and their conscious beliefs), themselves (the individual), and/or the Zeitgeist (the shared and often unconscious worldview of their field). Different combinations of kinds of defiance lead to different manifestations of creativity. Creativity is viewed basically as an attitude toward life and one’s work, but also has cognitive, affective, motivational, and environmental components. The article opens with a general introduction to creativity and what it is, and then describes the earlier theories upon which the triangular theory builds. Then it describes the triangular theory in some detail. Next it compares the triangular theory with other theories. Then it discusses how the triangular theory could be directly tested empirically. Finally the article draws conclusions.

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